This salad is just HAPPY. I love the big, bright pop of color on the table. To me, it screams, "HELLO SPRING!" I like to use rainbow carrots to get streaks of purple and yellow peeking through the orange pieces on the plate. If you can't find them at the grocery store or market, traditional orange is fine - just try and get the green tops attached. They’re delicious to eat – like a cousin to parsley – and finish off this salad beautifully.
The date dressing is an unexpected and tasty way to add natural sweetness and creaminess to a dressing. Soak the dates in hot water to soften them before adding them to the food processor – they whip up more smoothly. There still will be some small pieces of dates, though. When combined with the toasted cumin seeds, the taste of the sweet carrots is amplified.
I like to serve this salad on a cake stand - to make it stand out even more. I'm a sucker for cake stands of different colors, shapes and sizes on sale at TJ Maxx or Marshalls - you should see my collection!J
- 10 pitted dates
- 1 bunch medium carrots with green tops, washed (5-6 carrots)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1½ teaspoons grainy mustard
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Place the dates in a small bowl and cover with just enough hot water. Let steep.
Fill a large mixing bowl with ice water.
Cut the tops off the carrots and roughly chop the top parts of the greens into 2 tablespoons. Reserve the chopped pieces to finish the salad. Discard the rest or save for a vegetable stock or carrot top pesto.
Using a sharp vegetable peeler, shave the carrots into ribbons. Place into the ice water.
In a small sauce pan on medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until they are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Place in a small dish and set aside.
Drain the water from the dates and place into a food processor for blender with mustard, vinegar and orange juice. Cover and pulse until nearly smooth, about 45 seconds-1 minute (the dates will be just a bit chunky). Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse again until fully combined.
Transfer the carrots to a clean kitchen towel and blot dry. Place in a mixing bowl. Add the cumin seeds and two-thirds of the dressing. Toss. Place the dressed carrots on a platter or cake stand. Sprinkle the carrot tops on top. Season with sea salt and more cracked black pepper. Serve with a bit of the dressing on the side.